JERUSALEM, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Israeli researchers have developed a method for early prediction of gestational diabetes, the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) in central Israel reported Monday.
Gestational diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels that develop during pregnancy in women who did not previously have diabetes.
It occurs in 3 to 9 percent of all pregnancies and is fraught with risks for both mother and baby.
Typically, gestational diabetes is diagnosed between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.
However, in a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, WIS researchers have developed a computer algorithm that can identify, even before pregnancy has occurred, which women are at a high risk of gestational diabetes.
Based on these predictions, it may be possible to prevent gestational diabetes using nutritional and lifestyle changes.
The findings also indicate that a short questionnaire can determine in advance whether the woman at low risk of gestational diabetes may have saved the cost and inconvenience of glucose testing.
The study analyzed data on nearly 600,000 pregnancies available from Israel's largest health organization, Clalit Health Services.
The new algorithm processed big data, an enormous dataset made up of more than 2,000 parameters for each pregnancy, including the woman's blood test results and her and her family's medical histories.
The algorithm revealed that nine of the parameters were enough to accurately identify the women who were at high risk of developing gestational diabetes.
The nine parameters include the woman's age, body mass index, family history of diabetes and results of her glucose tests during previous pregnancies if any.